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Two Health Tips for Long-Distance Runners

Whilst long-distance running is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness, it does subject your body to a lot of wear and tear. If you plan to take up this form of exercise, here are some health tips that you may want to keep in mind.

Put plenty of effort into keeping your skin healthy

Given that the skin is one of the human body's largest organs and it plays an important role in protecting internal body parts from being harmed by physical trauma and pathogenic microbes, it is crucial to ensure that your chosen form of exercise does not damage it.

There are several ways to do this. Firstly, if you run outdoors, make sure that you apply a sweat-resistant sports sunscreen to the exposed areas of your skin before you run. This will minimise the chances of you developing sunburn, which will, in turn, reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Additionally, you should remove your sweaty running clothes as soon as possible after you finish each run, and then shower and dry your entire body very thoroughly. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, the moisture from your sweaty clothes may make you more susceptible to fungal skin infections, which can be uncomfortable and hard to resolve. 

Secondly, when your sweat evaporates, the salt that was in it will end up sitting on the surface of your skin. If you don't quickly rinse off this salt, it can create extra friction and lead to chafing in any areas where two pieces of skin touch each other (such as the tops of your thighs or in the area between your armpit and your chest). This abrasion can damage the upper layer of the dermis and increase the risk of an infection occurring in this part of your body.

Thirdly, the sweat, combined with the aforementioned sunscreen, may clog the pores in your chest, back and face, and in doing so, may result in acne forming in these areas.

Visit a sports physiotherapist instead of a standard physiotherapist if you sustain an injury

Long-distance running is tough on your body; it can lead to joint injuries, tendonitis, muscle strain and fractures. If or when you develop an injury as a result of your chosen form of exercise, you should visit a sports physiotherapist rather than a standard physiotherapist.

The reason for this is as follows; a sports physiotherapist will be better more familiar with the body mechanics involved in running.

Because they specialize in sports physiotherapy, they will understand precisely what lead to your injury (such as overstriding, a foot imbalance, a weak core or wearing the wrong type of footwear), and as such, they will be in a better position to treat it and offer specific advice on how to prevent the same problem from arising again.